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Title: Lucian's True History
Author: Samosata, Lucian of
Language: English
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(Originally published with the Greek text in 1894.)


18 Cecil Court




"A SNARE OF VINTAGE" (Beardsley)
DREAMS (Beardsley)


It is a commonplace of criticism that Lucian was the first of the
moderns, but in truth he is near to our time because of all the
ancients he is nearest to his own. With Petronius he shared the
discovery that there is material for literature in the debased and
various life of every day--that to the seeing eye the individual is
more wonderful in colour and complexity than the severely simple
abstraction of the poets. He replaced the tradition, respected of
his fathers, by an observation more vivid and less pedantic than
the note-book of the naturalist. He set the world in the dry light
of truth, and since the vanity of mankind is a constant factor
throughout the ages, there is scarce a page of Lucian's writing that
wears the faded air of antiquity. His personages are as familiar
to-day as they were in the second century, because, with his pitiless
determination to unravel the tangled skein of human folly, he never
blinded his vision to their true qualities. And the multiplicity of
his interest is as fresh as his penetration. Nothing came amiss to
his eager curiosity. For the first time in the history of literature
(with the doubtful exception of Cicero) we encounter a writer whose
ceaseless activity includes the world. While others had declared
themselves poets, historians, philosophers, Lucian comes forth as a
man of letters. Had he lived to-day, he would have edited a newspaper,
written leading articles, and kept his name ever before the public
in the magazines. For he possessed the qualities, if he avoided the
defects, of the journalist. His phrase had not been worn by constant
use to imbecility; his sentences were not marred by the association
of commonness; his style was still his own and fit for the expression
of a personal view. But he noted such types and incidents as make an
immediate, if perennial, appeal, and to study him is to be convinced
that literature and journalism are not necessarily divorced.

The profession was new, and with the joy of the innovator Lucian was
never tired of inventing new genres. Romance, criticism, satire--he
mastered them all. In _Toxaris_ and _The Ass_ he proves with what
delicacy and restraint he could handle the story. His ill-omened
apprenticeship to a sculptor gave him that taste and feeling for
art which he turned to so admirable an account. He was, in fact,
the first of the art-critics, and he pursued the craft with an easy
unconsciousness of the heritage he bequeathed to the world. True, he
is silent concerning the technical practice of the Greeks; true, he
leaves us in profound ignorance of the art of Zeuxis, whose secrets he
might have revealed, had he been less a man of letters. But he found
in painting and sculpture an opportunity for elegance of phrase, and
we would forgive a thousand shortcomings for such inspirations of
beauty as the smile of Sosandra: to τὸ μειδίαμα σεμνὸν καὶ λεληθὸς. In
literary criticism he was on surer ground, and here also he leaves the
past behind. His knowledge of Greek poetry was profound; Homer he had
by heart; and on every page he proves his sympathies by covert allusion
or precise quotation. His treatise concerning the Writing of History[1]
preserves its force irresistible after seventeen centuries, nor has
the wisdom of the ages impeached or modified this lucid argument.
With a modest wit he compares himself to Diogenes, who, when he saw
his fellow-citizens busied with the preparations of war, gathered
his skirts about him and fell to rolling his tub up and down. So
Lucian, unambitious of writing history, sheltered himself from "the
waves and the smoke," and was content to provide others with the best
of good counsel. Yet such is the irony of accident that, as Lucian's
criticism has outlived the masterpieces of Zeuxis, so the historians
have snatched an immortality from his censure; and let it be remembered
for his glory that he used Thucydides as a scourge wherewith to beat
impostors. But matters of so high import did not always engross his
humour, and in _The Illiterate Book-buyer_[2] he satirizes a fashion of
the hour and of all time with a courage and brutality which tear the
heart out of truth. How intimately does he realize his victim! And
how familiar is this same victim in his modern shape! You know the
very streets he haunts; you know the very shops wherein he is wont
to acquire his foolish treasures; you recognize that not by a single
trait has Lucian dishonoured his model. In yet another strange instance
Lucian anticipated the journalist of to-day. Though his disciples
know it not, he invented the interview. In that famous visit to the
Elysian Fields, which is a purple patch upon his masterpiece, _The True
History_, he "went to talk with Homer the Poet, our leisure serving us
both well," and he put precisely those questions which the modern hack,
note-book in hand, would seek to resolve. First, remembering the seven
cities, he would know of Homer what fatherland claimed him, and when
the poet "said indeed he was a Babylonian, and among his own countrymen
not called Homer but Tigranes," Lucian straightly "questioned him
about those verses in his books that are disallowed as not of his
making;" whereto Homer replied with a proper condemnation of Zenodotus
and Aristarchus. And you wonder whether Lucian is chastising his
contemporaries or looking with the eye of a prophet into the future.

But even more remarkable than his many-coloured interest is Lucian's
understanding. He was, so to say, a perfect Intelligence thrown by
accident into an age of superstition and credulity. It is not only
that he knew all things: he saw all things in their right relation.
If the Pagan world had never before been conscious of itself, it had
no excuse to harbour illusions after his coming. Mr. Pater speaks
of the intellectual light he turned upon dim places, and truly no
corner of life escaped the gleam of his lantern. Gods, philosophers,
necromancers, yielded up their secrets to his enquiry. With pitiless
logic he criticized their extravagance and pretension; and actively
anticipating the spirit of modern science, he accepted no fact,
he subscribed to no theory, which he had not examined with a cold

Indeed, he was Scepticism in human shape, but as the weapon of his
destruction is always raillery, as he never takes either himself or his
victims with exaggerated seriousness, you may delight in his attack,
even though you care not which side wins the battle. His wit was as
mordant as Heine's own;--is it fantastical to suggest that Lucian too
carried Hebrew blood in his veins?--yet when the onslaught is most
unsparing he is still joyous. For a gay contempt, not a bitter hatred,
is the note of his satire. And for the very reason that his scepticism
was felt, that it sprang from a close intimacy with the follies of
his own time, so it is fresh and familiar to an age that knows not
Zeus. Not even the _Dialogues of the Gods_ are out of date, for if we
no longer reverence Olympus, we still blink our eyes at the flash of
ridicule. And might not the _Philopseudes_, that masterly analysis of
ghostly terrors, might not _Alexander the False Prophet_, have been
written yesterday?

And thus we arrive at Lucian's weakness. In spite of its brilliance
and flippancy, his scepticism is at times over-intelligent. His good
sense baffles you by its infallibility; his sanity is so magnificently
beyond question, that you pray for an interlude of unreason. The
sprightliness of his wit, the alertness of his fancy, mitigate the
perpetual rightness of his judgment. But it must be confessed that for
all his delicate sense of ridicule he cherished a misguided admiration
of the truth. If only he had understood the joy of self-deception,
if only he had realized more often (as he realized in _The Ass_) the
delight of throwing probability to the winds, we had regarded him with
a more constant affection. His capital defect sprang from a lack of the
full-blooded humour which should at times have led him into error. And
yet by an irony it was this very love of truth which suggested _The
True History_, that enduring masterpiece of phantasy. Setting out to
prove his hatred of other men's lies, he shows himself on the road the
greatest liar of them all. "The father and founder of all this foolery
was Homer's Ulysses": thus he writes in his Preface, confessing that in
a spirit of emulation he "turned his style to publish untruths," but
with an honester mind, "for this one thing I confidently pronounce for
a truth, that I lie." Such is the spirit of the work, nor is there the
smallest doubt that Lucian, once embarked upon his voyage, slipped from
his ideal, to enjoy the lying for its own sake. If _The True History_
fails as a parody, that is because we care not a jot for Ctesias,
Iambulus and the rest, at whom the satire is levelled. Its fascination,
in fact, is due to those same qualities which, in others, its author
affected to despise. The facile variety of its invention can scarce
be matched in literature, and the lies are told with so delightful
an unconcern, that belief is never difficult. Nor does the narrative
ever flag. It ends at the same high level of falsehood in which it
has its beginning. And the credibility is increased by the harmonious
consistency of each separate lie. At the outset the traveller discovers
a river of wine, and forthwith travels up stream to find the source,
and "when we were come to the head" (to quote Hickes's translation),
"no spring at all appeared, but mighty vine trees of infinite number,
which from their roots distilled pure wine, which made the river run
so abundantly." So conclusive is the explanation, that you only would
have wondered had the stream been of water. And how admirable is the
added touch that he who ate fish from the river was made drunk! Then
by a pleasant gradation you are carried on from the Hippogypians, or
the Riders of Vultures, every feather in whose wing is bigger and
longer than the mast of a tall ship, from the fleas as big as twelve
elephants, to those spiders, of mighty bigness, every one of which
exceeded in size an isle of the Cyclades. "These were appointed to
spin a web in the air between the Moon and the Morning Star, which was
done in an instant, and made a plain champaign, upon which the foot
forces were planted." Truly a very Colossus of falsehood, but Lucian's
ingenuity is inexhausted and inexhaustible, and the mighty Whale is
his masterpiece of impudence. For he "contained in greatness fifteen
hundred furlongs"; his teeth were taller than beech-trees, and when he
swallowed the travellers, he showed himself so far superior to Jonah's
fish, that ship and all sailed down his throat, and happily he caught
not the pigmy shallop between his chops. And the geographical divisions
of the Whale's belly, and Lucian's adventures therein, are they not
set down with circumstantial verity? Then there is the episode of the
frozen ship, and the sea of milk, with its well-pressed cheese for an
island, which reminds one of the Elizabethan madrigal: "If there were
O an Hellespont of Cream." Moreover, the verisimilitude is enhanced
by a scrupulously simple style. No sooner is the preface concerning
lying at an end than Lucian lapses into pure narrative. A wealth
of minutely considered detail gives an air of reality to the most
monstrous impossibility; the smallest facts are explicitly divulged;
the remote accessories described with order and impressiveness; so that
the wildest invention appears plausible, even inevitable, and you know
that you are in company with the very genius of falsehood. Nor does
this wild diversity of invention suggest romance. It is still classic
in style and shape; not a phrase nor a word is lost; and expression,
as always in the classics, is reduced to its lowest terms. But when
the travellers reach the Islands of the Blessed, the style takes on a
colour and a beauty which it knew not before. A fragrant air breathed
upon them, as of "roses, daffodils, gillyflowers, lilies, violets,
myrtles, bays, and blossoms of vines." Happy also was the Isle to look
upon: ἔνθα δὴ καὶ καθεωρῶμεν λιμένας τε πολλοὺς περὶ πᾶσαν ὰκλύστους
καὶ μεγάλους, ποταμούς τε διαυγεῖς ἐξίοντας ἠρέμα ἐς τὴν θάλατταν· ἔτὶ
δὲ λειμῶνας καὶ ὕλας καὶ ὄρνεα μουσικὰ, τὰ μὲν πὶ τῶν ἠΐόνων ἄδοντα,
πολλὰ δὲ καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν κλάδων ἀήρ τε κοῦφος καὶ εὔπνους περιεκέχυτο
τὴν χώραν: "a still and gentle air compassing the whole country."
Where will you find a more vivid impression of elegance and serenity?
or where match "the melody of the branches, like the sound of wind
instruments in a solitary place" (ἀπὸ τῶν κλάδων κινουμένον τερπνὰ καὶ
συνεχῆ μέλη ἀπεσυρίξετο ἐοικότα τοῖς ἐπ' ἐρημίας αὐλήμασι τῶν πλαγίων
αὐλῶν)? And when the splendour of the city breaks upon you, with its
smaragdus, its cinnamon-tree, its amethyst, ivory, and beryl, the rich
barbarity suggests Solomon's Temple, or the City of the Revelation.
Its inhabitants are the occasion of infinite jesting, and again and
again does Lucian satirize the philosophers, his dearest foes. Socrates
was in danger of being thrust forth by Rhadamanthus, ἤν φλυαρῇ καὶ
μὴ ἐθέλῃ ἀφεὶς τὴν εἰρωνείαν εὐωχεῖσθαι, while as for Diogenes the
Sinopean, so profoundly was he changed from his old estate, that he
had married Lais the Harlot. The journey to Hell is another excuse to
gird at the historians. The severest torments were inflicted, says
Lucian, upon Ctesias the Cnidian, Herodotus and many others, which
the writer beholding "was put in great hopes that I should never have
anything to do there, for I do not know that ever I spake any untruth
in my life." And yet with all his irony, all his scorn, Lucian has
ever a side-glance at literature. The verse of Homer is constantly
upon his lips, and it is from Homer that the Gods take their ditties
in the Elysian fields. Again, when the traveller visits the city of
Nephelococcygia, it is but to think upon the poet Aristophanes, "how
wise a man he was, and how true a reporter, and how little cause there
is to question his fidelity for what he hath written."

Such is the work which, itself a masterpiece, has been a pattern and
an exemplar unto others. If Utopia and its unnumbered rivals derive
from Plato, there is not a single Imaginary Traveller that is not
modelled upon Lucian. _The True History_ was, in effect, the beginning
of a new literature. Not only was its framework borrowed, not only
was its habit of fantastic names piously imitated, but the disciples,
like the master, turned their voyages to the purpose of satire. It
was Rabelais who made the first adaptation, for, while Epistemon's
descent into Hell was certainly suggested by Lucian, Pantagruel's
voyage is an ample travesty of _The True History_, and Lanternland,
the home of the Lychnobii, is but Lychnopolis, Lucian's own City of
Lights. The seventeenth century discovered another imitator in Cyrano
de Bergerac, whose tepid _Voyage dans la Lune_ is interesting merely
because it is a link in the chain that unites Lucian with Swift.
Yet the book had an immense popularity, and Cyrano's biographer has
naught to say of the original traveller, save that he told his story
"avec beaucoup moins de vraisemblance et de gentilesse d'imagination
que M. de Bergerac." An astounding judgment surely, which time has
already reversed. And then came _Gulliver's Travels_, incomparably the
greatest descendant of _The True History_. To what excellent purpose
Swift followed his Lucian is proved alike by the amazing probability
of his narrative, and the cruelty of his satire. Like Lucian, he
professed an unveiled contempt for philosophers and mathematicians;
unlike Lucian, he made his imaginary journey the occasion for a fierce
satire upon kings and politicians. But so masterly is the narrative,
so convincing the reality of Lilliput and Brobdignag, that Gulliver
retains its hold upon our imagination, though the meaning of its satire
is long since blunted. Swift's work came to astonish the world in 1727,
and some fourteen years later in the century Holberg astonished the
wits of Denmark with a satire cast in Lucian's mould. _Nicolai Klimii
Iter Subterraneum_--thus ran the title, and from Latin the book was
translated into every known tongue. The city of walking trees, the home
of the Potuans, and many another invention, prove Holberg's debt to the
author of _The True History_. And if the _genre_ is dead to-day, it is
dead because the most intrepid humourist would hesitate to walk in the
footsteps of Lemuel Gulliver.

Fortunate in his imitators, Lucian has been not wholly unfortunate
in his translators. Not even envy could pick a quarrel with Francis
Hickes, whose Englishing of _The True History_ is here reprinted. The
book appeared, under the auspices of Hickes's son, in 1634, four years
after the translator's death. Thus it is described on the title-page:
"Certaine Select Dialogues of Lucian together with his True Historie,
translated from the Greeke into English by Mr. Francis Hickes.
Whereunto is added the Life of Lucian gathered out of his own Writings,
with briefe Notes and Illustrations upon each Dialogue and Booke, by
T. H. Master of Arts, of Christ Church in Oxford. Oxford, Printed by
William Turner. 1634." Composed with a certain dignity, it is dedicated
"to the Right Worshipfull Dr. Duppa, Deane of Christ-Church, and
Vice-Chancellor of the famous Universitie in Oxford." And the work
reflects a wholesome glory upon the famous University. For it is the
work of a scholar, who knew both the languages. Though his diction
lacked the spirit and colour which distinguished the splendid versions
of North and Holland, he was far more keenly conscious of his original
than were those masters of prose. Not only did he, unlike North,
translate directly from the Greek, but he followed his original with
loyalty and patience. In brief, his Lucian is a miracle of suitability.
The close simplicity of Hickes fits the classical restraint of _The
True History_ to admiration. As the Greek is a model of narrative,
so you cannot read the English version without thinking of the
incomparable Hakluyt. Thirty years after the first printing of the
translation, Jasper Mayne published his "Part of Lucian made English,"
wherein he added sundry versions of his own to the work already
accomplished by Francis Hickes. And in his "Epistle Dedicatory" he
discusses the art of translation with an intelligence which proves how
intimately he realized the excellent quality of Hickes's version. "For
as the Painter," thus Jasper Mayne, "who would draw a man of a bald
head, rumpled forehead, copper nose, pigge eyes, and ugly face, draws
him not to life, nor doth the business of his art, if he draw him less
deformed or ugly than he is; or as he who would draw a faire, amiable
lady, limbes with an erring pencil, and drawes a libell, not a face, if
he gives her not just features, and perfections: So in the Translation
of Bookes, he who makes a dull author elegant and quick; or a sharp,
elegant author flat, rustick, rude and dull, by contrary wayes, commits
the same sinne, and cannot be said to translate, but to transforme."
That is sound sense, and judged by the high standard of Jasper Mayne,
Francis Hickes has most valiantly acquitted himself.

He was the son of Richard Hickes, an arras-weaver of Barcheston, in
Warwickshire, and after taking the degree of bachelor in the University
of Oxford, which he entered in 1579, at the age of thirteen, he was
diverted (says Thomas, his son) "by a country retirement." Henceforth
he devoted his life to husbandry and Greek. Besides Lucian, he
translated Thucydides and Herodian, the manuscripts of which are said
to survive in the library of Christ Church. Possibly it was his long
retirement that gave a turn of pedantry to his mind. It was but natural
that in his remote garden he should exaggerate the importance of the
knowledge acquired in patient solitude. But certain it is that the
notes wherewith he decorated his margins are triumphs of inapposite
erudition. When Lucian describes the famous cobwebs, each one of which
was as big as an island of the Cyclades, Hickes thinks to throw light
upon the text with this astonishing irrelevancy: "They are in the
Aegean Sea, in number 13." The foible is harmless, nay pleasant, and
consonant with the character of the learned recluse. Thus lived Francis
Hickes, silent and unknown, until in 1630 he died at a kinsman's house
at Sutton in Gloucestershire. And you regret that his glory was merely
posthumous. For, pedant as he was, he made known to his countrymen
the enemy of all the pedants, and turned a masterpiece of Greek into
English as sound and scholarly as is found in any translator of his

[Footnote 1: Πῶς δεΐ ἰστορίαύ συγγράΦειν.]

[Footnote 2: Πρὸς τὸν παιδευτὸν καὶ πὸλλα ὠνούμενον]




Even as champions and wrestlers and such as practise the strength and
agility of body are not only careful to retain a sound constitution of
health, and to hold on their ordinary course of exercise, but sometimes
also to recreate themselves with seasonable intermission, and esteem it
as a main point of their practice; so I think it necessary for scholars
and such as addict themselves to the study of learning, after they have
travelled long in the perusal of serious authors, to relax a little
the intention of their thoughts, that they may be more apt and able to
endure a continued course of study.

And this kind of repose will be the more conformable, and fit their
purpose better, if it be employed in the reading of such works as shall
not only yield a bare content by the pleasing and comely composure
of them, but shall also give occasion of some learned speculation to
the mind, which I suppose I have effected in these books of mine:
wherein not only the novelty of the subject, nor the pleasingness of
the project, may tickle the reader with delight, nor to hear so many
notorious lies delivered persuasively and in the way of truth, but
because everything here by me set down doth in a comical fashion glance
at some or other of the old poets, historiographers, and philosophers,
which in their writings have recorded many monstrous and intolerable
untruths, whose names I would have quoted down, but that I knew the
reading would bewray them to you.

Ctesias, the son of Ctesiochus, the Cnidian, wrote of the region of the
Indians and the state of those countries, matters which he neither saw
himself, nor ever heard come from the mouth of any man. Iambulus also
wrote many strange miracles of the great sea, which all men knew to be
lies and fictions, yet so composed that they want not their delight:
and many others have made choice of the like argument, of which some
have published their own travels and peregrinations, wherein they have
described the greatness of beasts, the fierce condition of men, with
their strange and uncouth manner of life: but the first father and
founder of all this foolery was Homer's Ulysses, who tells a long tale
to Alcinous of the servitude of the winds, and of wild men with one
eye in their foreheads that fed upon raw flesh, of beasts with many
heads, and the transformation of his friends by enchanted potions, all
which he made the silly Phæakes believe for great sooth.

This coming to my perusal, I could not condemn ordinary men for
lying, when I saw it in request amongst them that would be counted
philosophical persons: yet could not but wonder at them, that, writing
so manifest lies, they should not think to be taken with the manner;
and this made me also ambitious to leave some monument of myself behind
me, that I might not be the only man exempted from this liberty of
lying: and because I had no matter of verity to employ my pen in (for
nothing hath befallen me worth the writing), I turned my style to
publish untruths, but with an honester mind than others have done: for
this one thing I confidently pronounce for a truth, that I lie: and
this, I hope, may be an excuse for all the rest, when I confess what I
am faulty in: for I write of matters which I neither saw nor suffered,
nor heard by report from others, which are in no being, nor possible
ever to have a beginning. Let no man therefore in any case give any
credit to them.

Disanchoring on a time from the pillars of Hercules, the wind fitting
me well for my purpose, I thrust into the West Ocean. The occasion that
moved me to take such a voyage in hand was only a curiosity of mind,
a desire of novelties, and a longing to learn out the bounds of the
ocean, and what people inhabit the farther shore: for which purpose
I made plentiful provision of victuals and fresh water, got fifty
companions of the same humour to associate me in my travels, furnished
myself with store of munition, gave a round sum of money to an expert
pilot that could direct us in our course, and new rigged and repaired a
tall ship strongly to hold a tedious and difficult journey.


Thus sailed we forward a day and a night with a prosperous wind, and
as long as we had any sight of land, made no great haste on our way;
but the next morrow about sun rising the wind blew high and the waves
began to swell and a darkness fell upon us, so that we could not see to
strike our sails, but gave our ship over to the wind and weather; thus
were we tossed in this tempest the space of threescore and nineteen
days together. On the fourscorth day the sun upon a sudden brake out,
and we descried not far off us an island full of mountains and woods,
about the which the seas did not rage so boisterously, for the storm
was now reasonably well calmed: there we thrust in and went on shore
and cast ourselves upon the ground, and so lay a long time, as utterly
tired with our misery at sea: in the end we arose up and divided
ourselves: thirty we left to guard our ship: myself and twenty more
went to discover the island, and had not gone above three furlongs from
the sea through a wood, but we saw a brazen pillar erected, whereupon
Greek letters were engraven, though now much worn and hard to be
discerned, importing, "Thus far travelled Hercules and Bacchus."

[Illustration: img002] There were also near unto the place two
portraitures cut out in a rock, the one of the quantity of an acre of
ground, the other less, which made me imagine the lesser to be Bacchus
and the other Hercules: and giving them due adoration, we proceeded on
our journey, and far we had not gone but we came to a river, the stream
whereof seemed to run with as rich wine as any is made in Chios, and
of a great breadth, in some places able to bear a ship, which made me
to give the more credit to the inscription upon the pillar, when I saw
such apparent signs of Bacchus's peregrination. We then resolved to
travel up the stream to find whence the river had his original, and
when we were come to the head, no spring at all appeared, but mighty
great vine-trees of infinite number, which from their roots distilled
pure wine which made the river run so abundantly: the stream was also
well stored with fish, of which we took a few, in taste and colour much
resembling wine, but as many as ate of them fell drunk upon it; for
when they were opened and cut up, we found them to be full of lees:
afterwards we mixed some fresh water fish with them, which allayed the
strong taste of the wine. We then crossed the stream where we found it
passable, and came among a world of vines of incredible number, which
towards the earth had firm stocks and of a good growth; but the tops
of them were women, from the hip upwards, having all their proportion
perfect and complete; as painters picture out Daphne, who was turned
into a tree when she was overtaken by Apollo; at their fingers' ends
sprung out branches full of grapes, and the hair of their heads was
nothing else but winding wires and leaves, and clusters of grapes.
When we were come to them, they saluted us and joined hands with us,
and spake unto us some in the Lydian and some in the Indian language,
but most of them in Greek: they also kissed us with their mouths, but
he that was so kissed fell drunk, and was not his own man a good while
after: they could not abide to have any fruit pulled from them, but
would roar and cry out pitifully if any man offered it. Some of them
desired to have carnal mixture with us, and two of our company were so
bold as to entertain their offer, and could never afterwards be loosed
from them, but were knit fast together at their nether parts, from
whence they grew together and took root together, and their fingers
began to spring out with branches and crooked wires as if they were
ready to bring out fruit: whereupon we forsook them and fled to our
ships, and told the company at our coming what had betide unto us, how
our fellows were entangled, and of their copulation with the vines.
Then we took certain of our vessels and filled them, some with water
and some with wine out of the river, and lodged for that night near the


On the morrow we put to sea again, the wind serving us weakly, but
about noon, when we had lost sight of the island, upon a sudden a
whirlwind caught us, which turned our ship round about, and lifted us
up some three thousand furlongs into the air, and suffered us not to
settle again into the sea, but we hung above ground, and were carried
aloft with a mighty wind which filled our sails strongly. Thus for
seven days' space and so many nights were we driven along in that
manner, and on the eighth day we came in view of a great country in
the air, like to a shining island, of a round proportion, gloriously
glittering with light, and approaching to it, we there arrived, and
took land, and surveying the country, we found it to be both inhabited
and husbanded: and as long as the day lasted we could see nothing
there, but when night was come many other islands appeared unto us,
some greater and some less, all of the colour of fire, and another kind
of earth underneath, in which were cities and seas and rivers and woods
and mountains, which we conjectured to be the earth by us inhabited:
and going further into the land, we were met withal and taken by those
kind of people which they call Hippogypians. These Hippogypians are
men riding upon monstrous vultures, which they use instead of horses:
for the vultures there are exceeding great, every one with three heads
apiece: you may imagine their greatness by this, for every feather in
their wings was bigger and longer than the mast of a tall ship: their
charge was to fly about the country, and all the strangers they found
to bring them to the king: and their fortune was then to seize upon
us, and by them we were presented to him. As soon as he saw us, he
conjectured by our habit what countrymen we were, and said, Are not
you, strangers, Grecians? which when we affirmed, And how could you
make way, said he, through so much air as to get hither?

Then we delivered the whole discourse of our fortunes to him; whereupon
he began to tell us likewise of his own adventures, how that he also
was a man, by name Endymion, and rapt up long since from the earth
as he was asleep, and brought hither, where he was made king of the
country, and said it was that region which to us below seemed to be
the moon; but he bade us be of good cheer and fear no danger, for we
should want nothing we stood in need of: and if the war he was now
in hand withal against the sun succeeded fortunately, we should live
with him in the highest degree of happiness. Then we asked of him
what enemies he had, and the cause of the quarrel: and he answered,
Phaethon, the king of the inhabitants of the sun (for that is also
peopled as well as the moon), hath made war against us a long time
upon this occasion: I once assembled all the poor people and needy
persons within my dominions, purposing to send a colony to inhabit the
Morning Star, because the country was desert and had nobody dwelling
in it. This Phaethon envying, crossed me in my design, and sent his
Hippomyrmicks to meet with us in the midway, by whom we were surprised
at that time, being not prepared for an encounter, and were forced to
retire: now therefore my purpose is once again to denounce war and
publish a plantation of people there: if therefore you will participate
with us in our expedition, I will furnish you every one with a prime
vulture and all armour answerable for service, for to-morrow we must
set forwards. With all our hearts, said I, if it please you. Then
were we feasted and abode with him, and in the morning arose to set
ourselves in-order of battle, for our scouts had given us knowledge
that the enemy was at hand. Our forces in number amounted to an
hundred thousand, besides such as bare burthens and engineers, and
the foot forces and the strange aids: of these, fourscore thousand
were Hippogypians, and twenty thousand that rode upon Lachanopters,
which is a mighty great fowl, and instead of feathers covered thick
over with wort leaves; but their wing feathers were much like the
leaves of lettuces: after them were placed the Cenchrobolians and
the Scorodomachians: there came also to aid us from the Bear Star
thirty thousand Psyllotoxotans, and fifty thousand Anemodromians:
these Psyllotoxotans ride upon great fleas, of which they have their
denomination, for every flea among them is as big as a dozen elephants:
the Anemodromians are footmen, yet flew in the air without feathers in
this manner: every man had a large mantle reaching down to his foot,
which the wind blowing against, filled it like a sail, and they were
carried along as if they had been boats: the most part of these in
fight were targeteers. It was said also that there were expected from
the stars over Cappadocia threescore and ten thousand Struthobalanians
and five thousand Hippogeranians, but I had no sight of them, for
they were not yet come, and therefore I durst write nothing, though
wonderful and incredible reports were given out of them. This was
the number of Endymion's army; the furniture was all alike; their
helmets of bean hulls, which are great with them and very strong;
their breastplates all of lupins cut into scales, for they take the
shells of lupins, and fastening them together, make breastplates of
them which are impenetrable and as hard as any horn: their shields
and swords like to ours in Greece: and when the time of battle was
come, they were ordered in this manner. The right wing was supplied
by the Hippogypians, where the king himself was in person with the
choicest soldiers in the army, among whom we also were ranged: the
Lachanopters made the left wing, and the aids were placed in the main
battle as every man's fortune fell: the foot, which in number were
about six thousand myriads, were disposed of in this manner: there are
many spiders in those parts of mighty bigness, every one in quantity
exceeding one of the Islands Cyclades: these were appointed to spin a
web in the air between the Moon and the Morning Star, which was done in
an instant, and made a plain champaign upon which the foot forces were
planted, who had for their leader Nycterion, the son of Eudianax, and
two other associates.


But of the enemy's side the left wing consisted of the Hippomyrmicks,
and among them Phaethon himself: these are beasts of huge bigness
and winged, carrying the resemblance of our emmets, but for their
greatness: for those of the largest size were of the quantity of two
acres, and not only the riders supplied the place of soldiers, but
they also did much mischief with their horns: they were in number
fifty thousand. In the right wing were ranged the Aeroconopes, of
which there were also about fifty thousand, all archers riding upon
great gnats: then followed the Aerocardakes, who were light armed and
footmen, but good soldiers, casting out of slings afar off huge great
turnips, and whosoever was hit with them lived not long after, but died
with the stink that proceeded from their wounds: it is said they use to
anoint their bullets with the poison of mallows. After them were placed
the Caulomycetes, men-at-arms and good at hand strokes, in number about
fifty thousand: they are called Caulomycetes because their shields
were made of mushrooms and their spears of the stalks of the herb
asparagus: near unto them were placed the Cynobalanians, that were sent
from the Dogstar to aid him: these were men with dogs' faces, riding
upon winged acorns: but the slingers that should have come out of _Via
Lactea_, and the Nephelocentaurs came too short of these aids, for the
battle was done before their arrival, so that they did them no good:
and indeed the slingers came not at all, wherefore they say Phaethon
in displeasure over-ran their country. These were the forces that
Phaethon brought into the field: and when they were joined in battle,
after the signal was given, and when the asses on either side had
brayed (for these are to them instead of trumpets), the fight began,
and the left wing of the Heliotans, or Sun soldiers, fled presently
and would not abide to receive the charge of the Hippogypians, but
turned their backs immediately, and many were put to the sword: but
the right wing of theirs were too hard for our left wing, and drove
them back till they came to our footmen, who joining with them, made
the enemies there also turn their backs and fly, especially when they
found their own left wing to be overthrown. Thus were they wholly
discomfited on all hands; many were taken prisoners, and many slain;
much blood was spilt; some fell upon the clouds, which made them look
of a red colour, as sometimes they appear to us about sun-setting;
some dropped down upon the earth, which made me suppose it was upon
some such occasion that Homer thought Jupiter rained blood for the
death of his son Sarpedon. Returning from the pursuit, we erected two
trophies: one for the fight on foot, which we placed upon the spiders'
web: the other for the fight in the air, which we set up upon the
clouds. As soon as this was done, news came to us by our scouts that
the Nephelocentaurs were coming on, which indeed should have come to
Phaethon before the fight. And when they drew so near unto us that we
could take full view of them, it was a strange sight to behold such
monsters, composed of flying horses and men: that part which resembled
mankind, which was from the waist upwards, did equal in greatness
the Rhodian Colossus, and that which was like a horse was as big as
a great ship of burden: and of such multitude that I was fearful to
set down their number lest it might be taken for a lie: and for their
leader they had the Sagittarius out of the Zodiac. When they heard that
their friends were foiled, they sent a messenger to Phaethon to renew
the fight: whereupon they set themselves in array, and fell upon the
Selenitans or the Moon soldiers that were troubled, and disordered in
following the chase, and scattered in gathering the spoils, and put
them all to flight, and pursued the king into his city, and killed the
greatest part of his birds, overturned the trophies he had set up, and
overcame the whole country that was spun by the spiders. Myself and
two of my companions were taken alive. When Phaethon himself was come
they set up other trophies in token of victory, and on the morrow we
were carried prisoners into the Sun, our arms bound behind us with a
piece of the cobweb: yet would they by no means lay any siege to the
city, but returned and built up a wall in the midst of the air to keep
the light of the Sun from falling upon the Moon, and they made it a
double wall, wholly compact of clouds, so that a manifest eclipse of
the Moon ensued, and all things detained in perpetual night: wherewith
Endymion was so much oppressed that he sent ambassadors to entreat
the demolishing of the building, and beseech him that he would not
damn them to live in darkness, promising to pay him tribute, to be his
friend and associate, and never after to stir against him. Phaethon's
council twice assembled to consider upon this offer, and in their first
meeting would remit nothing of their conceived displeasure, but on the
morrow they altered their minds to these terms.


"The Heliotans and their colleagues have made a peace with the
Selenitans and their associates upon these conditions, that the
Heliotans shall cast down the wall, and deliver the prisoners that
they have taken upon a ratable ransom: and that the Selenitans should
leave the other stars at liberty, and raise no war against the
Heliotans, but aid and assist one another if either of them should
be invaded: that the king of the Selenitans should yearly pay to the
king of the Heliotans in way of tribute ten thousand vessels of dew,
and deliver ten thousand of their people to be pledges for their
fidelity: that the colony to be sent to the Morning Star should be
jointly supplied by them both, and liberty given to any else that
would to be sharers in it: that these articles of peace should be
engraven in a pillar of amber, to be erected in the midst of the air
upon the confines of their country: for the performance whereof were
sworn of the Heliotans, Pyronides and Therites and Phlogius: and of
the Selenitans, Nyctor and Menius and Polylampes." Thus was the peace
concluded, the wall immediately demolished, and we that were prisoners
delivered. Being returned into the Moon, they came forth to meet us,
Endymion himself and all his friends, who embraced us with tears,
and desired us to make our abode with him, and to be partners in the
colony, promising to give me his own son in marriage (for there are no
women amongst them), which I by no means would yield unto, but desired
of all loves to be dismissed again into the sea, and he finding it
impossible to persuade us to his purpose, after seven days' feasting,
gave us leave to depart.

Now, what strange novelties worthy of note I observed during the time
of my abode there, I will relate unto you. The first is, that they
are not begotten of women, but of mankind: for they have no other
marriage but of males: the name of women is utterly unknown among
them: until they accomplish the age of five and twenty years, they are
given in marriage to others: from that time forwards they take others
in marriage to themselves: for as soon as the infant is conceived the
leg begins to swell, and afterwards when the time of birth is come,
they give it a lance and take it out dead: then they lay it abroad
with open mouth towards the wind, and so it takes life: and I think
thereof the Grecians call it the belly of the leg, because therein
they bear their children instead of a belly. I will tell you now of
a thing more strange than this. There are a kind of men among them
called Dendritans, which are begotten in this manner: they cut out the
right stone out of a man's cod, and set it in their ground, from which
springeth up a great tree of flesh, with branches and leaves, bearing
a kind of fruit much like to an acorn, but of a cubit in length, which
they gather when they are ripe, and cut men out of them: their privy
members are to be set on and taken off as they have occasion: rich men
have them made of ivory, poor men of wood, wherewith they perform the
act of generation and accompany their spouses.

When a man is come to his full age he dieth not, but is dissolved like
smoke and is turned into air. One kind of food is common to them all,
for they kindle a fire and broil frogs upon the coals, which are
with them in infinite numbers flying in the air, and whilst they are
broiling, they sit round about them as it were about a table, and lap
up the smoke that riseth from them, and feast themselves therewith,
and this is all their feeding. For their drink they have air beaten
in a mortar, which yieldeth a kind of moisture much like unto dew.
They have no avoidance of excrements, either of urine or dung, neither
have they any issue for that purpose like unto us. Their boys admit
copulation, not like unto ours, but in their hams, a little above the
calf of the leg, for there they are open. They hold it a great ornament
to be bald, for hairy persons are abhorred with them, and yet among
the stars that are comets it is thought commendable, as some that have
travelled those coasts reported unto us. Such beards as they have are
growing a little above their knees. They have no nails on their feet,
for their whole foot is all but one toe. Every one of them at the point
of his rump hath a long colewort growing out instead of a tail, always
green and flourishing, which though a man fall upon his back, cannot
be broken. The dropping of their noses is more sweet than honey. When
they labour or exercise themselves, they anoint their body with milk,
wherein to if a little of that honey chance to drop, it will be turned
into cheese. They make very fat oil of their beans, and of as delicate
a savour as any sweet ointment. They have many vines in those parts,
which yield them but water: for the grapes that hang upon the clusters
are like our hailstones: and I verily think that when the vines there
are shaken with a strong wind, there falls a storm of hail amongst us
by the breaking down of those kind of berries. Their bellies stand them
instead of satchels to put in their necessaries, which they may open
and shut at their pleasure, for they have neither liver nor any kind
of entrails, only they are rough and hairy within, so that when their
young children are cold, they may be enclosed therein to keep them
warm. The rich men have garments of glass, very soft and delicate: the
poorer sort of brass woven, whereof they have great plenty, which they
enseam with water to make it fit for the workman, as we do our wool.
If I should write what manner of eyes they have, I doubt I should be
taken for a liar in publishing a matter so incredible: yet I cannot
choose but tell it: for they have eyes to take in and out as please
themselves: and when a man is so disposed, he may take them out and lay
them by till he have occasion to use them, and then put them in and see
again: many when they have lost their own eyes, borrow of others, for
the rich have many lying by them. Their ears are all made of the leaves
of plane-trees, excepting those that come of acorns, for they only have
them made of wood.

I saw also another strange thing in the same court: a mighty great
glass lying upon the top of a pit of no great depth, whereinto, if any
man descend, he shall hear everything that is spoken upon the earth: if
he but look into the glass, he shall see all cities and all nations as
well as if he were among them. There had I the sight of all my friends
and the whole country about: whether they saw me or not I cannot tell:
but if they believe it not to be so, let them take the pains to go
thither themselves and they shall find my words true. Then we took our
leaves of the king and such as were near him, and took shipping and
departed: at which time Endymion bestowed upon me two mantles made of
their glass, and five of brass, with a complete armour of those shells
of lupins, all which I left behind me in the whale: and sent with us
a thousand of his Hippogypians to conduct us five hundred furlongs on
our way. In our course we coasted many other countries, and lastly
arrived at the Morning Star now newly inhabited, where we landed and
took in fresh water: from thence we entered the Zodiac, passing by the
Sun, and, leaving it on our right hand, took our course near unto
the shore, but landed not in the country, though our company did much
desire it, for the wind would not give us leave: but we saw it was a
flourishing region, fat and well watered, abounding with all delights:
but the Nephelocentaurs espying us, who were mercenary soldiers to
Phaethon, made to our ship as fast as they could, and finding us to
be friends, said no more unto us, for our Hippogypians were departed
before. Then we made forwards all the next night and day, and about
evening-tide following we came to a city called Lychnopolis, still
holding on our course downwards. This city is seated in the air between
the Pleiades and the Hyades, somewhat lower than the Zodiac, and
arriving there, not a man was to be seen, but lights in great numbers
running to and fro, which were employed, some in the market place, and
some about the haven, of which many were little, and as a man may say,
but poor things; some again were great and mighty, exceeding glorious
and resplendent, and there were places of receipt for them all; every
one had his name as well as men; and we did hear them speak. These did
us no harm, but invited us to feast with them, yet we were so fearful,
that we durst neither eat nor sleep as long as we were there. Their
court of justice standeth in the midst of the city, where the governor
sitteth all the night long calling every one by name, and he that
answereth not is adjudged to die, as if he had forsaken his ranks.
Their death is to be quenched. We also standing amongst them saw what
was done, and heard what answers the lights made for themselves, and
the reasons they alleged for tarrying so long: there we also knew our
own light, and spake unto it, and questioned it of our affairs at
home, and how all did there, which related everything unto us. That
night we made our abode there, and on the next morrow returned to
our ship, and sailing near unto the clouds had a sight of the city
Nephelococcygia, which we beheld with great wonder, but entered not
into it, for the wind was against us. The king thereof was Coronus,
the son of Cottyphion: and I could not choose but think upon the poet
Aristophanes, how wise a man he was, and how true a reporter, and how
little cause there is to question his fidelity for what he hath written.

The third after, the ocean appeared plainly unto us, though we could
see no land but what was in the air, and those countries also seemed
to be fiery and of a glittering colour. The fourth day about noon,
the wind gently forbearing, settled us fair and leisurely into the
sea; and as soon as we found ourselves upon water, we were surprised
with incredible gladness, and our joy was unexpressible; we feasted
and made merry with such provision as we had; we cast ourselves into
the sea, and swam up and down for our disport, for it was a calm.
But oftentimes it falleth out that the change to the better is the
beginning of greater evils: for when we had made only two days' sail in
the water, as soon as the third day appeared, about sun-rising, upon a
sudden we saw many monstrous fishes and whales: but one above the rest,
containing in greatness fifteen hundred furlongs, which came gaping
upon us and troubled the sea round about him, so that he was compassed
on every side with froth and foam, showing his teeth afar off, which
were longer than any beech trees are with us, all as sharp as needles,
and as white as ivory: then we took, as we thought, our last leaves
one of another, and embracing together, expected our ending day. The
monster was presently with us, and swallowed us up ship and all; but by
chance he caught us not between his chops, for the ship slipped through
the void passages down into his entrails. When we were thus got within
him we continued a good while in darkness, and could see nothing till
he began to gape, and then we perceived it to be a monstrous whale of
a huge breadth and height, big enough to contain a city that would
hold ten thousand men: and within we found small fishes and many other
creatures chopped in pieces, and the masts of ships and anchors and
bones of men and luggage. In the midst of him was earth and hills,
which were raised, as I conjectured, by the settling of the mud which
came down his throat, for woods grew upon them and trees of all sorts
and all manner of herbs, and it looked as if it had been husbanded.
The compass of the land was two hundred and forty furlongs: there were
also to be seen all kind of sea fowl, as gulls, halcyons and others
that had made their nests upon the trees. Then we fell to weeping
abundantly, but at the last I roused up my company, and propped up our
ship and struck fire. Then we made ready supper of such as we had, for
abundance of all sort of fish lay ready by us, and we had yet water
enough left which we brought out of the Morning Star.


The next morrow we rose to watch when the whale should gape: and then
looking out, we could sometimes see mountains, sometimes only the
skies, and many times islands, for we found that the fish carried
himself with great swiftness to every part of the sea. When we grew
weary of this, I took seven of my company, and went into the wood to
see what I could find there, and we had not gone above five furlongs
but we light upon a temple erected to Neptune, as by the title
appeared, and not far off we espied many sepulchres and pillars placed
upon them, with a fountain of clear water close unto it: we also heard
the barking of a dog, and saw smoke rise afar off, so that we judged
there was some dwelling thereabout. Wherefore making the more haste,
we lighted upon an old man and a youth, who were very busy in making a
garden and in conveying water by a channel from the fountain into it:
whereupon we were surprised both with joy and fear: and they also were
brought into the same taking, and for a long time remained mute. But
after some pause, the old man said, What are ye, you strangers? any of
the sea spirits? or miserable men like unto us? for we that are men by
nature, born and bred in the earth, are now sea-dwellers, and swim up
and down within the Continent of this whale, and know not certainly
what to think of ourselves: we are like to men that be dead, and yet
believe ourselves to be alive. Whereunto I answered, For our parts,
father, we are men also, newly come hither, and swallowed up ship and
all but yesterday: and now come purposely within this wood which is
so large and thick: some good angel, I think, did guide us hither to
have the sight of you, and to make us know that we are not the only
men confined within this monster: tell us therefore your fortunes, we
beseech you, what you are, and how you came into this place. But he
answered, You shall not hear a word from me, nor ask any more questions
until you have taken part of such viands as we are able to afford you.
So he took us and brought us into his house, which was sufficient to
serve his turn: his pallets were prepared, and all things else made
ready. Then he set before us herbs and nuts and fish, and filled out of
his own wine unto us: and when we were sufficiently satisfied, he then
demanded of us what fortunes we had endured, and I related all things
to him in order that had betide unto us, the tempest, the passages in
the island, our navigation in the air, our war, and all the rest, even
till our diving into the whale. Whereat he wondered exceedingly, and
began to deliver also what had befallen to him, and said, By lineage,
O ye strangers, I am of the isle Cyprus, and travelling from mine own
country as a merchant, with this my son you see here, and many other
friends with me, made a voyage for Italy in a great ship full fraught
with merchandise, which perhaps you have seen broken in pieces in the
mouth of the whale. We sailed with fair weather till we were as far
as Sicily, but there we were overtaken with such a boisterous storm
that the third day we were driven into the ocean, where it was our
fortune to meet with this whale which swallowed us all up, and only we
two escaped with our lives; all the rest perished, whom we have here
buried and built a temple to Neptune. Ever since we have continued this
course of life, planting herbs and feeding upon fish and nuts: here is
wood enough, you see, and plenty of vines which yield most delicate
wine: we have also a well of excellent cool water, which it may be you
have seen: we make our beds of the leaves of trees, and burn as much
wood as we will: we chase after the birds that fly about us, and go
out upon the gills of the monster to catch after live fishes: here we
bathe ourselves when we are disposed, for we have a lake of salt water
not far off, about some twenty furlongs in compass, full of sundry
sorts of fish, in which we swim and sail upon it in a little boat of
mine own making. This is the seven-and-twentieth year of our drowning,
and with all this we might be well enough contented if our neighbours
and borderers about us were not perverse and troublesome, altogether
insociable and of stern condition. Is it so, indeed, said I, that there
should be any within the whale but yourselves? Many, said he, and such
as are unreconcilable towards strangers, and of monstrous and deformed
proportions. The western countries and the tail-part of the wood are
inhabited by the Tarychanians that look like eels, with faces like
a lobster: these are warlike, fierce, and feed upon raw flesh: they
that dwell towards the right side are called Tritonomendetans, which
have their upper parts like unto men, their lower parts like cats,
and are less offensive than the rest. On the left side inhabit the
Carcinochirians and the Thinnocephalians, which are in league one with
another: the middle region is possessed by the Paguridians, and the
Psettopodians, a warlike nation and swift of foot: eastwards towards
the mouth is for the most part desert, as overwashed by the sea: yet am
I fain to take that for my dwelling, paying yearly to the Psettopodians
in way of tribute five hundred oysters.

Of so many nations doth this country consist. We must therefore devise
among ourselves either how to be able to fight with them, or how to
live among them. What number may they all amount unto? said I. More
than a thousand, said he. And what armour have they? None at all, said
he, but the bones of fishes. Then were it our best course, said I, to
encounter them, being provided as we are, and they without weapons,
for if we prove too hard for them we shall afterward live out of fear.
This we concluded upon, and went to our ship to furnish ourselves with
arms. The occasion of war we gave by non-payment of tribute, which
then was due, for they sent their messengers to demand it, to whom he
gave a harsh and scornful answer, and sent them packing with their
arrant. But the Psettopodians and Paguridians, taking it ill at the
hands of Scintharus, for so was the man named, came against us with
great tumult: and we, suspecting what they would do, stood upon our
guard to wait for them, and laid five-and-twenty of our men in ambush,
commanding them as soon as the enemy was passed by to set upon them,
who did so, and arose out of their ambush, and fell upon the rear.
We also being five-and-twenty in number (for Scintharus and his son
were marshalled among us) advanced to meet with them, and encountered
them with great courage and strength: but in the end we put them to
flight and pursued them to their very dens. Of the enemies were slain
an hundred threescore and ten, and but one of us besides Trigles, our
pilot, who was thrust through the back with a fish's rib. All that day
following and the night after we lodged in our trenches, and set on end
a dry backbone of a dolphin instead of a trophy.

The next morrow the rest of the country people, perceiving what had
happened, came to assault us. The Tarychanians were ranged in the
right wing, with Pelamus their captain: the Thinnocephalians were
placed in the left wing: the Carcinochirians made up the main battle:
for the Tritonomendetans stirred not, neither would they join with
either part. About the temple of Neptune we met with them, and joined
fight with a great cry, which was answered with an echo out of the
whale as if it had been out of a cave: but we soon put them to flight,
being naked people, and chased them into the wood, making ourselves
masters of the country. Soon after they sent ambassadors to us to crave
the bodies of the dead and to treat upon conditions of peace; but we
had no purpose to hold friendship with them, but set upon them the
next day and put them all to the sword except the Tritonomendetans,
who, seeing how it fared with the rest of their fellows, fled away
through the gills of the fish, and cast themselves into the sea. Then
we travelled all the country over, which now was desert, and dwelt
there afterwards without fear of enemies, spending the time in exercise
of the body and in hunting, in planting vineyards and gathering fruit
of the trees, like such men as live delicately and have the world at
will, in a spacious and unavoidable prison. This kind of life led we
for a year and eight months, but when the fifth day of the ninth month
was come, about the time of the second opening of his mouth (for so
the whale did once every hour, whereby we conjectured how the hours
went away), I say about the second opening, upon a sudden we heard
a great cry and a mighty noise like the calls of mariners and the
stirring of oars, which troubled us not a little. Wherefore we crept
up to the very mouth of the fish, and standing within his teeth, saw
the strangest sight that ever eye beheld--men of monstrous greatness,
half a furlong in stature, sailing upon mighty great islands as if they
were upon shipboard. I know you will think this smells like a lie,
but yet you shall have it. The islands were of a good length indeed,
but not very high, containing about an hundred furlongs in compass;
every one of these carried of those kind of men eight-and-twenty, of
which some sat on either side of the island and rowed in their course
with great cypress trees, branches, leaves and all, instead of oars.
On the stern or hinder part, as I take it, stood the governor, upon
a high hill, with a brazen rudder of a furlong in length in his
hand: on the fore-part stood forty such fellows as those, armed for
the fight, resembling men in all points but in their hair, which was
all fire and burnt clearly, so that they needed no helmets. Instead
of sails the wood growing in the island did serve their turns, for
the wind blowing against it drave forward the island like a ship,
and carried it which way the governor would have it, for they had
pilots to direct them, and were as nimble to be stirred with oars as
any long-boat. At the first we had the sight but of two or three of
them: afterwards appeared no less than six hundred, which, dividing
themselves in two parts, prepared for encounter, in which many of
them by meeting with their barks together were broken in pieces, many
were turned over and drowned: they that closed, fought lustily and
would not easily be parted, for the soldiers in the front showed a
great deal of valour, entering one upon another, and killed all they
could, for none were taken prisoners. Instead of iron grapples they had
mighty great polypodes fast tied, which they cast at the other, and
if they once laid hold on the wood they made the isle sure enough for
stirring. They darted and wounded one another with oysters that would
fill a wain, and sponges as big as an acre. The leader on the one side
was Æolocentaurus, and of the other Thalassopotes. The quarrel, as it
seems, grew about taking a booty: for they said that Thalassopotes
drave away many flocks of dolphins that belonged to Æolocentaurus, as
we heard by their clamours one to another, and calling upon the names
of their kings: but Æolocentaurus had the better of the day and sunk
one hundred and fifty of the enemy's islands, and three they took with
the men and all. The rest withdrew themselves and fled, whom the other
pursued, but not far, because it grew towards evening, but returned to
those that were wrecked and broken, which they also recovered for the
most part, and took their own away with them: for on their part there
were no less than fourscore islands drowned. Then they erected a trophy
for a monument of this island fight, and fastened one of the enemy's
islands with a stake upon the head of the whale. That night they lodged
close by the beast, casting their cables about him, and anchored near
unto him: their anchors are huge and great, made of glass, but of a
wonderful strength. The morrow after, when they had sacrificed upon
the top of the whale, and there buried their dead, they sailed away,
with great triumph and songs of victory. And this was the manner of the
islands' fight.




Upon this we began to be weary of our abode in the whale, and our
tarriance there did much trouble us. We therefore set all our wits
a-work to find out some means or other to clear us from our captivity.
First, we thought it would do well to dig a hole through his right
side and make our escape that way forth, which we began to labour at
lustily; but after we had pierced him five furlongs deep and found it
was to no purpose, we gave it over. Then we devised to set the wood
on fire, for that would certainly kill him without all question, and
being once dead, our issue would be easy enough. This we also put in
practice, and began our project at the tail end, which burnt seven days
and as many nights before he had any feeling of our fireworks: upon
the eighth and ninth days we perceived he began to grow sickly: for he
gaped more dully than he was wont to do, and sooner closed his mouth
again: the tenth and eleventh he was thoroughly mortified and began to
stink: upon the twelfth day we bethought ourselves, though almost too
late, that unless we underpropped his chops when he gaped next to keep
them from closing, we should be in danger of perpetual imprisonment
within his dead carcase and there miserably perish.


We therefore pitched long beams of timber upright within his mouth
to keep it from shutting, and then made our ship in a readiness, and
provided ourselves with store of fresh water, and all other things
necessary for our use, Scintharus taking upon him to be our pilot, and
the next morrow the whale died. Then we hauled our ship through the
void passages, and fastening cables about his teeth, by little and
little settled it into the sea, and mounting the back of the whale,
sacrificed to Neptune, and for three days together took up our lodging
hard by the trophy, for we were becalmed. The fourth day we put to sea,
and met with many dead corpses that perished in the late sea-fight,
which our ship hit against, whose bodies we took measure of with great
admiration, and sailed for a few days in very temperate weather. But
after that the north wind blew so bitterly that a great frost ensued,
wherewith the whole sea was all frozen up, not only superficially upon
the upper part, but in depth also the depth of four hundred fathoms,
so that we were fain to forsake our ship and run upon the ice. The
wind sitting long in this corner, and we not able to endure it, put
this device in practice, which was the invention of Scintharus:--with
mattocks and other instruments we made a mighty cave in the water,
wherein we sheltered ourselves forty days together: in it we kindled
fire, and fed upon fish, of which we found great plenty in our digging.
At the last, our provision falling short, we returned to our frozen
ship, which we set upright, and spreading her sails, went forward as
well as if we had been upon water, leisurely and gently sliding upon
the ice; but on the fifth day the weather grew warm, and the frost
brake, and all was turned to water again. We had not sailed three
hundred furlongs forwards but we came to a little island that was
desert, where we only took in fresh water (which now began to fail
us), and with our shot killed two wild bulls, and so departed. These
bulls have their horns growing not upon their heads but under their
eyes, as Momus thought it better. Then we entered into a sea, not of
water but of milk, in which appeared a white island full of vines. This
island was only a great cheese well pressed (as we afterwards found
when we fed upon it), about some five-and-twenty furlongs in bigness:
the vines were full of clusters of grapes, out of which we could crush
no wine, but only milk: in the midst of the island there was a temple
built dedicated to Galatea, one of the daughters of Nereus, as by the
inscription appeared. As long as we remained there the soil yielded
us food and victuals, and our drink was the milk that came out of
the grapes: in these, as they said, reigneth Tyro, the daughter of
Salmoneus, who, after her departure, received this guerdon at the hands
of Neptune.

In this island we rested ourselves five days, and on the sixth put
to sea again, a gentle gale attending us, and the seas all still and
quiet. The eighth day, as we sailed onward, not in milk any longer, but
in salt and azure water, we saw many men running upon the sea, like
unto us every way forth, both in shape and stature, but only for their
feet, which were of cork, whereupon, I suppose, they had the name of

We marvelled much when we saw they did not sink, but keep above water,
and travel upon it so boldly. These came unto us, and saluted us in
the Grecian language, and said they were bound towards Phello, their
own country, and for a while ran along by us, but at last turned their
own way and left us, wishing us a happy and prosperous voyage. Within
a while after many islands appeared, and near unto them, upon our
left hand, stood Phello, the place whereunto they were travelling,
which was a city seated upon a mighty great and round cork. Further
off, and more towards the right hand, we saw five other islands,
large and mountainous, in which much fire was burning; but directly
before us was a spacious flat island, distant from us not above five
hundred furlongs: and approaching somewhat near unto it, a wonderful
fragrant air breathed upon us, of a most sweet and delicate smell,
such as Herodotus, the story-writer, saith ariseth out of Arabia the
happy, consisting of a mixture of roses, daffodils, gillyflowers,
lilies, violets, myrtles, bays, and blossoms of vines: such a dainty
odoriferous savour was conveyed unto us.

Being delighted with this smell, and hoping for better fortunes after
our long labours, we got within a little of the isle, in which we found
many havens on every side, not subject to overflowing, and yet of great
capacity, and rivers of clear water emptying themselves easily into
the sea, with meadows and herbs and musical birds, some singing upon
the shore, and many upon the branches of trees, a still and gentle air
compassing the whole country. When pleasant blasts gently stirred
the woods the motion of the branches made a continual delightsome
melody, like the sound of wind instruments in a solitary place: a
kind of clamour also was heard mixed with it, yet not tumultuous nor
offensive, but like the noise of a banquet, when some do play on wind
instruments, some commend the music, and some with their hands applaud
the pipe, or the harp. All which yielded us so great content that we
boldly entered the haven, made fast our ship and landed, leaving in her
only Scintharus and two more of our companions behind us. Passing along
through a sweet meadow we met with the guards that used to sail about
the island, who took us and bound us with garlands of roses (which are
the strictest bands they have), to be carried to their governor: from
them we heard, as we were upon the way, that it was the island of those
that are called blessed, and that Rhadamanthus was governor there, to
whom we were brought and placed the fourth in order of them that were
to be judged.

The first trial was about Ajax, the son of Telamon, whether he were
a meet man to be admitted into the society of the Heroes or not: the
objections against him were his madness and the killing of himself: and
after long pleading to and fro, Rhadamanthus gave this sentence, that
for the present he should be put to Hippocrates, the physician of Cos,
to be purged with helleborus, and upon the recovery of his wits to have

The second was a controversy of love, Theseus and Menelaus contending
which had the better right to Helen; but Rh ad am an thus gave
judgment on Menelaus' side, in respect of the manifold labours and
perils he had incurred for that marriage' sake, whereas Theseus had
wives enough beside to live withal--as the Amazon, and the daughters of
Minos. The third was a question of precedency between Alexander, the
son of Philip, and Hannibal, the Carthaginian, in which Alexander was
preferred, and his throne placed next to the elder Cyrus the Persian.

In the fourth place we appeared, and he demanded of us what reason we
had, being living men, to take land in that sacred country, and we told
him all our adventures in order as they befell us: then he commanded
us to stand aside, and considering upon it a great while, in the end
proposed it to the benchers, which were many, and among them Aristides
the Athenian, surnamed the Just: and when he was provided what sentence
to deliver, he said that for our busy curiosity and needless travels we
should be accountable after our death; but for the present we should
have a time limited for our abode, during which we should feast with
the Heroes and then depart, prefixing us seven months' liberty to
conclude our tarriance, and no more. Then our garlands fell off from
us of themselves, and we were set loose and led into the city to feast
with the blessed.

The city was all of gold, compassed with a wall made of the precious
stone smaragdus, which had seven gates, every one cut out of a whole
piece of timber of cinnamon-tree: the pavement of the city and all
the ground within the walls was ivory: the temples of all the gods
are built of beryl, with large altars made all of one whole amethyst,
upon which they offer their sacrifices: about the city runneth a river
of most excellent sweet ointment, in breadth an hundred cubits of the
larger measure, and so deep that a man may swim in it with ease. For
their baths they have great houses of glass, which they warm with
cinnamon: and their bathing-tubs are filled with warm dew instead of
water. Their only garments are cobwebs of purple colour; neither have
they any bodies, but are intactile and without flesh, a mere shape and
presentation only: and being thus bodiless, they yet stand, and are
moved, are intelligent, and can speak: and their naked soul seemeth to
wander up and down in a corporal likeness: for if a man touch them not
he cannot say otherwise, but that they have bodies, altogether like
shadows standing upright, and not, as they are, of a dark colour. No
man waxeth any older there than he was before, but of what age he comes
thither, so he continues. Neither is there any night with them, nor
indeed clear day: but like the twilight towards morning before the sun
be up, such a kind of light do they live in. They know but one season
of the year which is the spring, and feel no other wind but Zephyrus.
The region flourisheth with all sorts of flowers, and with all pleasing
plants fit for shade: their vines bear fruit twelve times a year, every
month once: their pomegranate-trees, their apple-trees, and their
other fruit, they say, bear thirteen times in the year, for in the
month called Minous they bear twice. Instead of wheat their ears bear
them loaves of bread ready baked, like unto mushrooms. About the city
are three hundred three-score and five wells of water, and as many of
honey, and five hundred of sweet ointment, for they are less than the
other. They have seven rivers of milk and eight of wine.

They keep their feast without the city in a field called Elysium,
which is a most pleasant meadow, environed with woods of all sorts,
so thick that they serve for a shade to all that are invited, who sit
upon beds of flowers, and are waited upon, and have everything brought
unto them by the winds, unless it be to have the wine filled: and that
there is no need of: for about the banqueting place are mighty great
trees growing of clear and pure glass, and the fruit of those trees are
drinking-cups and other kind of vessels of what fashion or greatness
you will: and every man that comes to the feast gathers one or two
of those cups, and sets them before him, which will be full of wine
presently, and then they drink. Instead of garlands the nightingales
and other musical birds gather flowers with their beaks out of the
meadows adjoining, and flying over their heads with chirping notes
scatter them among them.

They are anointed with sweet ointment in this manner: sundry clouds
draw that unguent out of the fountains and the rivers, which settling
over the heads of them that are at the banquet, the least blast of
wind makes a small rain fall upon them like unto a dew. After supper
they spend the time in music and singing: their ditties that are in
most request they take out of Homer's verses, who is there present
himself and feasteth among them, sitting next above Ulysses: their
choirs consist of boys and virgins, which were directed and assisted
by Eunomus the Locrian, and Arion the Lesbian, and Anacreon, and
Stesichorus, who hath had a place there ever since his reconcilement
with Helena. As soon as these have done there enter a second choir of
swans, swallows, and nightingales; and when they have ended, the whole
woods ring like wind-instruments by the stirring of the air.

But that which maketh most for their mirth are two wells adjoining to
the banqueting place, the one of laughter, the other of pleasure: of
these every man drinks to begin the feast withal, which makes them
spend the whole time in mirth and laughter.

I will also relate unto you what famous men I saw in that association.
There were all the demigods, and all that fought against Troy,
excepting Ajax the Locrian: he only, they told me, was tormented in
the region of the unrighteous. Of barbarians there was the elder and
the younger Cyrus, and Anacharsis the Scythian, Zamolxis the Thracian,
and Numa the Italian. There was also Lycurgus the Lacedæmonian, and
Phocion and Tellus the Athenians, and all the Wise Men, unless it were

I also saw Socrates, the son of Sophroniscus, prattling with Nestor
and Palamedes, and close by him stood Hyacinthus the Lacedæmonian, and
the gallant Narcissus and Hylas, and other beautiful and lovely youths,
and for aught I could gather by him he was far in love with Hyacinthus,
for he discoursed with him more than all the rest: for which cause,
they said, Rhadamanthus was offended at him, and often threatened to
thrust him out of the island if he continued to play the fool in that
fashion, and not give over his idle manner of jesting, when he was at
their banquet. Only Plato was not present, for they said he dwelled in
a city framed by himself, observing the same rule of government and
laws as he had prescribed for them to live under.

Aristippus and Epicurus are prime men amongst them, because they
are the most jovial good fellows and the best companions. Diogenes
the Sinopean was so far altered from the man he was before that he
married with Lais the harlot, and was many times so drunk that he would
rise and dance about the room as a man out of his senses. Æsop the
Phrygian served them for a jester. There was not one Stoic in company
but were still busied in ascending the height of virtue's hill: and
of Chrysippus we heard that it was not lawful for him by any means to
touch upon the island until he have the fourth time purged himself
with helleborus. The Academics, they say, were willing enough to come,
but that they yet are doubtful and in suspense, and cannot comprehend
how there should be any such island; but indeed, I think, they were
fearful to come to be judged by Rhadamanthus, because themselves have
abolished all kind of judgment: yet many of them, they say, had a
desire, and would follow after those that were coming hither, but were
so slothful as to give it over because they were not comprehensive, and
therefore turned back in the midst of their way.

These were all the men of note that I saw there; and amongst them all
Achilles was held to be the best man, and next to him Theseus. For
their manner of venery and copulation thus it is: they couple openly
in the eyes of all men, both with females and male kind, and no man
holds it for any dishonesty. Only Socrates would swear deeply that he
accompanied young men in a cleanly fashion, and therefore every man
condemned him for a perjured fellow: and Hyacinthus and Narcissus both
confessed otherwise for all his denial.

The women there are all in common, and no man takes exception at it,
in which respect they are absolutely the best Platonists in the world:
and so do the boys yield themselves to any man's pleasure without

After I had spent two or three days in this manner, I went to talk with
Homer the poet, our leisure serving us both well, and to know of him
what countryman he was, a question with us hard to be resolved, and he
said he could not certainly tell himself, because some said he was of
Chios, some of Smyrna, and many to be of Colophon; but he said indeed
he was a Babylonian, and among his own countrymen not called Homer but
Tigranes, and afterwards living as an hostage among the Grecians, he
had therefore that name put upon him. Then I questioned him about those
verses in his books that are disallowed as not of his making, whether
they were written by him or not, and he told me they were all his own,
much condemning Zenodotus and Aristarchus, the grammarians, for their
weakness in judgment.

When he had satisfied me in this, I asked him again why he began the
first verse of his poem with anger: and he told me it fell out so by
chance, not upon any premeditation. I also desired to know of him
whether he wrote his Odysseys before his Iliads, as many men do hold:
but he said it was not so. As for his blindness which is charged upon
him, I soon found it was far otherwise, and perceived it so plainly
that I needed not to question him about it.

Thus was I used to do many days when I found him idle, and would go
to him and ask him many questions, which he would give me answer to
very freely: especially when we talked of a trial he had in the court
of justice, wherein he got the better: for Thersites had preferred a
bill of complaint against him for abusing him and scoffing at him in
his Poem, in which action Homer was acquitted, having Ulysses for his

About the same time came to us Pythagoras the Samian, who had
changed his shape now seven times, and lived in as many lives, and
accomplished the periods of his soul. The right half of his body was
wholly of gold; and they all agreed that he should have place amongst
them, but were doubtful what to call him, Pythagoras or Euphorbus.
Empedocles also came to the place, scorched quite over, as if his body
had been broiled upon the embers; but could not be admitted for all his
great entreaty.

The time passing thus along, the day of prizes for masteries of
activity now approached, which they call Thanatusia. The setters of
them forth were Achilles the fifth time, and Theseus the seventh time.
To relate the whole circumstance would require a long discourse, but
the principal points I will deliver. At wrestling Carus, one of the
lineage of Hercules, had the best, and wan the garland from Ulysses.
The fight with fists was equal between Arius the Ægyptian, who was
buried at Corinth, and Epius, that combated for it. There was no prize
appointed for the Pancratian fight: neither do I remember who got the
best in running: but for poetry, though Homer without question were too
good for them all, yet the best was given to Hesiodus. The prizes were
all alike, garlands plotted of peacocks' feathers.


As soon as the games were ended, news came to us that the damned crew
in the habitation of the wicked had broken their bounds, escaped the
gaolers, and were coming to assail the island, led by Phalaris the
Agrigentine, Busyris the Ægyptian, Diomedes the Thracian, Sciron,
Pituocamptes, and others: which Rhadamanthus hearing, he ranged
the Heroes in battle array upon the sea-shore, under the leading of
Theseus and Achilles and Ajax Telamonius, who had now recovered his
senses, where they joined fight; but the Heroes had the day, Achilles
carrying himself very nobly. Socrates also, who was placed in the right
wing, was noted for a brave soldier, much better than he was in his
lifetime, in the battle at Delium: for when the enemy charged him, he
neither fled nor changed countenance: wherefore afterwards, in reward
of his valour, he had a prize set out for him on purpose, which was
a beautiful and spacious garden, planted in the suburbs of the city,
whereunto he invited many, and disputed with them there, giving it the
name of Necracademia.

Then we took the vanquished prisoners, and bound them, and sent them
back to be punished with greater torments.

This fight was also penned by Homer, who, at my departure, gave me the
book to show my friends, which I afterwards lost and many things else
beside: but the first verse of the poem I remember was this: "Tell me
now, Muse, how the dead Heroes fought."

When they overcome in fight, they have a custom to make a feast with
sodden beans, wherewith they banquet together for joy of their victory:
only Pythagoras had no part with them, but sat aloof off, and lost his
dinner because he could not away with beans.


Six months were now passed over, and the seventh halfway onwards,
when a new business was begot amongst us. For Cinyras the son of
Scintharus, a proper tall young man, had long been in love with Helena,
and it might plainly be perceived that she as fondly doted upon him,
for they would still be winking and drinking one to another whilst they
were a-feasting, and rise alone together, and wander up and down in
the wood. This humour increasing, and knowing not what course to take,
Cinyras' device was to steal away Helena, whom he found as pliable
to run away with him, to some of the islands adjoining, either to
Phello, or Tyroessa, having before combined with three of the boldest
fellows in my company to join with them in their conspiracy; but never
acquainted his father with it, knowing that he would surely punish him
for it.

Being resolved upon this, they watched their time to put it in
practice: for when night was come, and I absent (for I was fallen
asleep at the feast), they gave a slip to all the rest, and went away
with Helena to shipboard as fast as they could. Menelaus waking about
midnight, and finding his bed empty, and his wife gone, made an outcry,
and calling up his brother, went to the court of Rhadamanthus.

As soon as the day appeared, the scouts told them they had descried
a ship, which by that time was got far off into the sea. Then
Rhadamanthus set out a vessel made of one whole piece of timber of
asphodelus wood, manned with fifty of the Heroes to pursue after them,
which were so willing on their way, that by noon they had overtaken
them newly entered into the milky ocean, not far from Tyroessa, so near
were they got to make an escape. Then took we their ship and hauled it
after us with a chain of roses and brought it back again.

Rhadamanthus first examined Cinyras and his companions whether they
had any other partners in this plot, and they confessing none, were
adjudged to be tied fast by the privy members and sent into the place
of the wicked, there to be tormented, after they had been scourged with
rods made of mallows. Helena, all blubbered with tears, was so ashamed
of herself that she would not show her face. They also decreed to
send us packing out of the country, our prefixed time being come, and
that we should stay there no longer than the next morrow: wherewith
I was much aggrieved and wept bitterly to leave so good a place and
turn wanderer again I knew not whither: but they comforted me much
in telling me that before many years were past I should be with them
again, and showed me a chair and a bed prepared for me against the time
to come near unto persons of the best quality.

Then went I to Rhadamanthus, humbly beseeching him to tell me my future
fortunes, and to direct me in my course; and he told me that after
many travels and dangers, I should at last recover my country, but
would not tell me the certain time of my return: and showing me the
islands adjoining, which were five in number, and a sixth a little
further off, he said, Those nearest are the islands of the ungodly,
which you see burning all in a light fire, but the other sixth is the
island of dreams, and beyond that is the island of Calypso, which you
cannot see from hence. When you are past these, you shall come into the
great continent, over against your own country, where you shall suffer
many afflictions, and pass through many nations, and meet with men of
inhuman conditions, and at length attain to the other continent.

When he had told me this, he plucked a root of mallows out of the
ground, and reached it to me, commanding me in my greatest perils to
make my prayers to that: advising me further neither to rake in the
fire with my knife, nor to feed upon lupins, nor to come near a boy
when he is past eighteen years of age: if I were mindful of this, the
hopes would be great that I should come to the island again.

Then we prepared for our passage, and feasted with them at the usual
hour, and next morrow I went to Homer, entreating him to do so much as
make an epigram of two verses for me, which he did: and I erected a
pillar of berylstone near unto the haven, and engraved them upon it.
The epigram was this:

    Lucian, the gods' belov'd, did once attain
    To see all this, and then go home again.

After that day's tarrying, we put to sea, brought onward on our way by
the Heroes, where Ulysses closely coming to me that Penelope might not
see him, conveyed a letter into my hand to deliver to Calypso in the
isle of Ogygia. Rhadamanthus also sent Nauplius, the ferryman, along
with us, that if it were our fortune to put into those islands, no man
should lay hands upon us, because we were bent upon other employments.


No sooner had we passed beyond the smell of that sweet odour but
we felt a horrible filthy stink, like pitch and brimstone burning,
carrying an intolerable scent with it as if men were broiling upon
burning coals: the air was dark and muddy, from which distilled a
pitchy kind of dew. We heard also the lash of the whips, and the
roarings of the tormented: yet went we not to visit all the islands,
but that wherein we landed was of this form: it was wholly compassed
about with steep, sharp, and craggy rocks, without either wood or
water: yet we made a shift to scramble up among the cliffs, and so went
forwards in a way quite overgrown with briars and thorns through a
most villainous ghastly country, and coming at last to the prison and
place of torment we wondered to see the nature and quality of the soil,
which brought forth no other flowers but swords and daggers, and round
about it ran certain rivers, the first of dirt, the second of blood,
and the innermost of burning fire, which was very broad and unpassable,
floating like water, and working like the waves of the sea, full of
sundry fishes, some as big as firebrands, others of a less size like
coals of fire, and these they call Lychniscies.

There was but one narrow entrance into it, and Timon of Athens
appointed to keep the door, yet we got in by the help of Nauplius, and
saw them that were tormented, both kings and private persons very many,
of which there were some that I knew, for there I saw Cinyras tied by
private members, and hanging up in the smoke. But the greatest torments
of all are inflicted upon them that told any lies in their lifetime,
and wrote untruly, as Ctesias the Cnidian, Herodotus, and many other,
which I beholding, was put in great hopes that I should never have
anything to do there, for I do not know that ever I spake any untruth
in my life. We therefore returned speedily to our ship (for we could
endure the sight no longer), and taking our leaves of Nauplius, sent
him back again.

A little after appeared the Isle of Dreams near unto us, an obscure
country and unperspicuous to the eye, endued with the same quality as
dreams themselves are: for as we drew, it still gave back and fled from
us, that it seemed to be farther off than at the first, but in the end
we attained it and entered the haven called Hypnus, and adjoined to
the gate of ivory, where the temple of Alectryon stands, and took land
somewhat late in the evening.

Entering the gate we saw many dreams of sundry fashions; but I will
first tell you somewhat of the city, because no man else hath written
any description of it: only Homer hath touched it a little, but to
small purpose.


It is round about environed with a wood, the trees whereof are
exceeding high poppies and mandragoras, in which an infinite number of
owls do nestle, and no other birds to be seen in the island: near unto
it is a river running, called by them Nyctiporus, and at the gates are
two wells, the one named Negretus, the other Pannychia. The wall of
the city is high and of a changeable colour, like unto the rainbow,
in which are four gates, though Homer speak but of two: for there are
two which look toward the fields of sloth, the one made of iron, the
other of potter's clay, through which those dreams have passage that
represent fearful, bloody, and cruel matters: the other two behold the
haven and the sea, of which the one is made of horn, the other of
ivory, which we went in at.

As we entered the city, on the right hand stands the temple of the
Night, whom, with Alectryon, they reverence above all the gods: for
he hath also a temple built for him near unto the haven. On the left
hand stands the palace of sleep, for he is the sovereign king over them
all, and hath deputed two great princes to govern under him, namely,
Taraxion, the son of Matogenes, and Plutocles, the son of Phantasion.

In the middest of the market-place is a well, by them called Careotis,
and two temples adjoining, the one of falsehood, the other of truth,
which have either of them a private cell peculiar to the priests, and
an oracle, in which the chief prophet is Antiphon, the interpreter of
dreams, who was preferred by Sleep to that place of dignity.


These dreams are not all alike either in nature or shape, for some of
them are long, beautiful, and pleasing: others again are as short and
deformed. Some make show to be of gold, and others to be as base and
beggarly. Some of them had wings, and were of monstrous forms: others
set out in pomp, as it were in a triumph, representing the appearances
of kings, gods, and other persons.

Many of them were of our acquaintance, for they had been seen of us
before, which came unto us and saluted us as their old friends, and
took us and lulled us asleep, and feasted us nobly and courteously,
promising beside all other entertainment which was sumptuous and
costly, to make us kings and princes. Some of them brought us home to
our own country to show us our friends there, and come back with us the
next morrow.

Thus we spent thirty days and as many nights among them, sleeping and
feasting all the while, until a sudden clap of thunder awakened us all,
and we starting up, provided ourselves of victuals, and took sea again,
and on the third day landed in Ogygia. But upon the way I opened the
letter I was to deliver, and read the contents, which were these:

"Ulysses to Calypso sendeth greeting. This is to give you to understand
that after my departure from you in the vessel I made in haste for
myself, I suffered shipwreck, and hardly escaped by the help of
Leucothea into the country of the Phæacks, who sent me to mine own
home, where I found many that were wooers to my wife, and riotously
consumed my means; but I slew them all, and was afterwards killed
myself by my son Telegonus, whom I begat of Circe, and am now in the
island of the blessed, where I daily repent myself for refusing to live
with you, and forsaking the immortality proffered me by you; but if I
can spy a convenient time, I will give them all the slip and come to

This was the effect of the letter, with some addition concerning us,
that we should have entertainment: and far had I not gone from the sea
but I found such a cave as Homer speaks of, and she herself working
busily at her wool. When she had received the letter, and brought us
in, she began to weep and take on grievously, but afterwards she called
us to meat, and made us very good cheer, asking us many questions
concerning Ulysses and Penelope, whether she was so beautiful and
modest as Ulysses had often before bragged of her.

And we made her such answer as we thought would give her best content:
and departing to our ship, reposed ourselves near unto the shore, and
in the morning put to sea, where we were taken with a violent storm,
which tossed us two days together, and on the third we fell among the
Colocynthopiratans. These are a wild kind of men, that issue out of
the islands adjoining, and prey upon passengers, and for their shipping
have mighty great gourds six cubits in length, which they make hollow
when they are ripe, and cleanse out all that is within them, and use
the rinds for ships, making their masts of reeds, and their sails of
the gourd leaves.

These set upon us with two ships furnished and fought with us, and
wounded many, casting at us instead of stones the seeds of those
gourds. The fight was continued with equal fortune until about noon, at
which time, behind the Colocynthopiratans, we espied the Caryonautans
coming on, who, as it appeared, were enemies to the other, for when
they saw them approach, they forsook us and turned about to fight
with them; and in the mean space we hoist sail and away, leaving
them together by the ears, and no doubt but the Caryonautans had the
better of the day, for they exceeded in number, having five ships well
furnished, and their vessels of greater strength, for they are made
of nutshells cloven in the midst and cleansed, of which every half is
fifteen fathom in length.


When we were got out of sight we were careful for the curing of our
hurt men, and from that time forwards went no more unarmed, fearing
continually to be assaulted on the sudden: and good cause we had: for
before sun-setting some twenty men or thereabouts, which also were
pirates, made towards us, riding upon monstrous great dolphins, which
carried them surely: and when their riders gat upon their backs,
would neigh like horses. When they were come near us, they divided
themselves, some on the one side, and some on the other, and flung at
us with dried cuttle-fishes and the eyes of sea-crabs: but when we shot
at them again and hurt them, they would not abide it, but fled to the
island, the most of them wounded.

About midnight, the sea being calm, we fell before we were aware upon
a mighty great halcyon's nest, in compass no less than threescore
furlongs, in which the halcyon herself sailed, as she was hatching her
eggs, in quantity almost equalling the nest, for when she took her
wings, the blast of her feathers had like to have overturned our ship,
making a lamentable noise as she flew along.

As soon as it was day, we got upon it, and found it to be a nest,
fashioned like a great lighter, with trees plaited and wound one within
another, in which were five hundred eggs, every one bigger than a tun
of Chios measure, and so near their time of hatching that the young
chickens might be seen and began to cry. Then with an axe we hewed one
of the eggs in pieces, and cut out a young one that had no feathers,
which yet was bigger than twenty of our vultures.

When we had gone some two hundred furlongs from this nest, fearful
prodigies and strange tokens appeared unto us, for the carved goose,
that stood for an ornament on the stern of our ship, suddenly flushed
out with feathers and began to cry. Scintharus, our pilot, that was
a bald man, in an instant was covered with hair: and which was more
strange than all the rest, the mast of our ship began to bud out with
branches and to bear fruit at the top, both of figs and great clusters
of grapes, but not yet ripe. Upon the sight of this we had great cause
to be troubled in mind, and therefore besought the gods to avert from
us the evil that by these tokens was portended.

And we had not passed full out five hundred furlongs, but we came in
view of a mighty wood of pine-trees and cypress, which made us think
it had been land, when it was indeed a sea of infinite depth, planted
with trees that had no roots, but floated firm and upright, standing
upon the water. When we came to it and found how the case stood with
us, we knew not what to do with ourselves. To go forwards through the
trees was altogether impossible: they were so thick and grew so close
together: and to turn again with safety was as much unlikely.


I therefore got me up to the top of the highest tree to discover,
if I could, what was beyond; and I found the breadth of the wood to
be fifty furlongs or thereabout, and then appeared another ocean to
receive us. Wherefore we thought it best to assay to lift up our ship
upon the leaves of the trees which were thick grown, and by that means
pass over, if it were possible, to the other ocean: and so we did: for
fastening a strong cable to our ship, we wound it about the tops of the
trees, and with much ado poised it up to the height, and placing it
upon the branches, spread our sails, and were carried as it were upon
the sea, dragging our ship after us by the help of the wind which set
it forwards. At which time a verse of the poet Antimachus came to my
remembrance, wherein he speaks of sailing over tops of trees.

When we had passed over the wood, and were come to the sea again, we
let down our ship in the same manner as we took it up. Then sailed we
forwards in a pure and clear stream, until we came to an exceeding
great gulf or trench in the sea, made by the division of the waters as
many times is upon land, where we see great clefts made in the ground
by earthquakes and other means. Whereupon we struck sail and our ship
stayed upon a sudden when it was at the pit's brim ready to tumble
in: and we stooping down to look into it, thought it could be no less
than a thousand furlongs deep, most fearful and monstrous to behold,
for the water stood as it were divided into two parts, but looking on
our right hand afar off, we perceived a bridge of water, which to our
seeming, did join the two seas together and crossed over from the one
to the other. Wherefore we laboured with oars to get unto it, and over
it we went and with much ado got to the further side beyond all our

Then a calm sea received us, and in it we found an island, not very
great, but inhabited with unsociable people, for in it were dwelling
wild men named Bucephalians, that had horns on their heads like the
picture of Minotaurus, where we went ashore to look for fresh water and
victuals, for ours was all spent: and there we found water enough, but
nothing else appeared; only we heard a great bellowing and roaring a
little way off, which we thought to have been some herd of cattle, and
going forwards, fell upon those men, who espying us, chased us back
again, and took three of our company: the rest fled towards the sea.

Then we all armed ourselves, not meaning to leave our friends
unrevenged, and set upon the Bucephalians as they were dividing the
flesh of them that were slain, and put them all to flight, and pursued
after them, of whom we killed fifty, and two we took alive, and so
returned with our prisoners; but food we could find none.

Then the company were all earnest with me to kill those whom we had
taken; but I did not like so well of that, thinking it better to keep
them in bonds until ambassadors should come from the Bucephalians to
ransom them that were taken, and indeed they did: and I well understood
by the nodding of their heads, and their lamentable lowing, like
petitioners, what their business was.

So we agreed upon a ransom of sundry cheeses and dried fish and onions
and four deer with three legs apiece, two behind and one before. Upon
these conditions we delivered those whom we had taken, and tarrying
there but one day, departed.

Then the fishes began to show themselves in the sea, and the birds
flew over our heads, and all other tokens of our approach to land
appeared unto us. Within a while after we saw men travelling the seas,
and a new found manner of navigation, themselves supplying the office
both for ship and sailor, and I will tell you how. As they lie upon
their backs in the water and their privy members standing upright,
which are of a large size and fit for such a purpose, they fasten
thereto a sail, and holding their cords in their hands, when the wind
hath taken it, are carried up and down as please themselves.

After these followed others riding upon cork, for they yoke two
dolphins together, and drive them on (performing themselves the place
of a coachman), which draw the cork along after them. These never
offered us any violence, nor once shunned our sight; but passed along
in our company without fear, in a peaceable manner, wondering at the
greatness of our ship, and beholding it on every side.

At evening we arrived upon a small island, inhabited, as it seemed,
only by women, which could speak the Greek language; for they came unto
us, gave us their hands, and saluted us, all attired like wantons,
beautiful and young, wearing long mantles down to the foot: the island
was called Cabbalusa and the city Hydramardia. So the women received
us, and every one of them took aside one of us for herself, and made
him her guest. But I pausing a little upon it (for my heart misgave
me), looked narrowly round about, and saw the bones of many men, and
the skulls lying together in a corner; yet I thought not good to make
any stir, or to call my company about me, or to put on arms; but taking
the mallow into my hand, made my earnest prayers thereto that I might
escape out of those present perils.


Within a while after, when the strange female came to wait upon me, I
perceived she had not the legs of a woman, but the hoofs of an ass.
Whereupon I drew my sword, and taking fast hold of her, bound her, and
examined her upon the point: and she, though unwillingly, confessed
that they were sea-women, called Onosceleans, and they fed upon
strangers that travelled that way. For, said she, when we have made
them drunk, we go to bed to them, and in their sleep, make a hand of

I hearing this, left her bound in the place where she was, and went up
to the roof of the house, where I made an outcry, and called my company
to me, and when they were come together, acquainted them with all that
I had heard, and showed them the bones, and brought them into her that
was bound, who suddenly was turned into water, and could not be seen.
Notwithstanding, I thrust my sword into the water to see what would
come of it, and it was changed into blood.


Then we made all the haste we could to our ship, and got us away,
and as soon as it was clear day, we had sight of the mainland, which
we judged to be the country opposite to our continent. Whereupon we
worshipped, and made our prayers, and took council what was now to be
done. Some thought it best only to go a-land and so return back again:
others thought it better to leave our ship there and march into the
mid-land to try what the inhabitants would do: but whilst we were upon
this consultation a violent storm fell upon us, which drave our ship
against the shore, and burst it all in pieces, and with much ado we all
swam to land with our arms, every man catching what he could lay hands

These are all the occurrences I can acquaint you withal, till the time
of our landing, both in the sea, and in our course to the islands, and
in the air, and after that in the whale; and when we came out again
what betid unto us among the Heroes and among the dreams, and lastly
among the Bucephalians and the Onosceleans. What passed upon land the
next books shall deliver.

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